Clarence Eugene Sasser (1947-2024)

Clarence Eugene Sasser (U.S. Army Photo)
U.S. Army Spc. 5th Class Clarence Eugene Sasser (U.S. Army)
Photo from the U.S. Army. Public Domain Image.

Clarence E. Sasser was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his outstanding service in the Vietnam War. He was born in Chenango, Texas on September 12, 1947. Sasser grew up on a farm with a brother, a sister, four stepsiblings, his mother, and stepfather, who helped raise him. In 1970, Sasser married Ethel Morant, and they raised three sons, Ross, Benjamin, and Billy.

Sasser received his education in Chenango, Texas, and graduated from Marshall High School in 1965 at the top of his class. He then entered the University of Houston as a chemistry major in the fall of 1965. However, lack of money became a problem, and he was forced to take a job and attend school part-time. As a result, he immediately lost his student deferment, and his draft number came up. In June 1967, Sasser voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he trained as a medical aid man.

In September 1967, Sasser arrived in Vietnam as a private first class and, less than one week later, participated in a night patrol. This incident provided Sasser with real-life combat medic experience that would benefit his platoon in the coming months.

According to his Medal of Honor Citation, on January 10, 1968, Sasser received multiple wounds when his unit was airlifted to a Mekong River rice paddy on a reconnaissance mission. As soon as he disembarked from the transport helicopter, Sasser was shot in the leg. He then received shell fragments throughout his body, impeding his ability to render aid to wounded soldiers. Despite his wounds, Sasser continued to crawl through the muddy field, bandaging soldiers and dragging them back to safety. Sasser and other unit members continued to fight the enemy for nearly twenty hours and were not evacuated until the next day. Sasser was transported to a hospital in Japan, where he recovered from his injuries.

On March 7, 1969, he received the Medal of Honor from President Richard Nixon for his actions as a combat field medic on January 10, 1968, in Dinh Tuong Province, South Vietnam.

Sasser enrolled at Texas A&M University as a chemistry student when he finished his military commitment. Although he did not graduate, he received an honorary doctorate of letters from the university in 2014. After working at an oil refinery for over five years, he joined the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a Decision Review officer, working until his retirement.

Later, on June 9, 2022, the U.S. Army dedicated and renamed the Fort Hood Medical Simulation Training Center in honor of Clarence E. Sasser. Clarence Sasser died on May 13, 2024, in Sugar Land, Texas, at the age of 76.